Egypt

Court of Cassation advocates canceling the death sentence
of a Coptic monk accused of the murder of Anba Epiphanios

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Court of Cassation has advocated the annulment of one of the two death sentences imposed by the Egyptian court of first instance against the monk and ex monk accused of the murder of Anba Epiphanios (in the photo), abbot of the Coptic monastery of Saint Macarius. This was reported by lawyer Michel Halim, defense attorney of one of the two accused, in recent days, adding that the orientation expressed by the Court of Cassation does not yet represent a binding pronouncement by the judicial body, and it would not concern the other accused Isaiah al Makari.

On Saturday 23 February 2019 the Criminal Court of Damanhur had issued two death sentences for monk Falta'os al Makari and former monk Wael Saad Tawadros (who as a monk bore the name of Isaiah al Makari), who were found guilty of the perpetrated murder of Anba Epiphanios, on 29 July 2018 in the monastery of Saint Macarius, in the Wadi Natrun region (see Fides, 25/2/2019). The assassination of the abbot had shocked the entire Coptic community. The first death sentence, confirmed two months later, was immediately defined as "a catastrophe" by Anba Agathon, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Maghagha. Bishop Agathon had immediately invited to pray for the two condemned.

In the sentence of condemnation we read that the two "had no qualms about committing their crime in a sacred place, and they showed that they did not even take into account the age and spiritual stature of the victim". According to what was reconstructed during the investigations, the Abbot was murdered due to contrasts for economic issues and for several violations of monastic rules by the two monks. During the trial, the two accused continued to proclaim themselves innocent.

The Abbot was found lifeless inside the monastery at dawn on Sunday 29 July, 2018 in a pool of blood, inside the monastery, along the way that led from his cell to the church, where the Bishop was going to start the day with the morning prayer, before Sunday Mass (see Fides, 30/7/2018). The Abbot was 64 years old, a native of Tanta, a graduate in medicine, Anba Epiphanius had entered Saint Macarius the Great monastery, in Wadi Natrun region, in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 2002. Researcher and scholar, he had worked on the translation from Greek to Arabic of several books of the Bible.

Source: fides.org

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